Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Christmas-friendly Cracker Barrel, Hobby Lobby, Kirkland’s, Lowe’s, Michael’s and Walmart top AFA list 

TUPELO, Miss. - Now that the Christmas shopping season is in its last week, companies are extending store hours and advertising more than any other time of the year in an effort to attract last-minute Christmas shoppers.

The American Family Association (AFA) recently updated its “Naughty or Nice” list of Christmas-friendly retailers.

For the past decade, the AFA has made it its mission to educate shoppers about the retailers that embrace Christmas through its annual “Naughty or Nice” list, as well as those that stand firm on the “War on Christmas.”

“The ranking of the top national retailers also informs shoppers of stores that act like ‘Scrooge’ when it comes to Christmas-friendly marketing by reviewing retailer websites, media advertising and in-store signage,” reads a news release from AFA.

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N.C. sued for conscience protections for magistrates

ASHEVILLE, N.C.(BP) - Three couples are suing the state of North Carolina over gay marriage discrimination that apparently isn't happening.

The lawsuit targets protections for magistrates who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds and don't want to be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state legislature passed the bill protecting religious convictions of state employees earlier this year, overriding a veto from Gov. Pat McCrory.

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Family gives father 'highlight of Christmas'

OAXACA, Mexico (BP) - The Quinn family scaled back Christmas presents last year to send dad, Breese, on mission trip to Mexico. When Breese opened his gift, inside was a scene (a diorama or three-dimensional miniature model) that featured the mountainous region of southern Mexico. The gift was titled Oaxaca Missions 2015. Breese’s son Aidan had added trees from his train set and displayed figures at the foot of the mountain reading the Bible.

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2 Sudanese Christian leaders arrested

JUBA, South Sudan (BP) -- Security officials have arrested two Sudanese Christian leaders near Khartoum and are seeking to re-imprison two pastors who were freed in August, Morning Star News has reported.

The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested two leaders of the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC) at their respective homes at 7 a.m. on Dec. 18, Morning Star reported Dec. 20. Kowa Shamaal, SCOC head of missions, was arrested in North Khartoum, while Hassan Abdelrahim, SCOC vice moderator, was arrested in Omdurman. Both men also are pastors.

Family and church officials were given no reason for the arrest of the leaders, who have objected to government demolition of SCOC churches. The leaders' whereabouts were unknown but a source in Khartoum told Morning Star News they are in detention at an undisclosed NISS site in Khartoum state.

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16,000 salvations via mobile game reported

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (BP) - Biblical narratives of Eve, Noah, Moses and others are unveiled in Stained Glass, a new mobile app by Lightside Games, whose products have led to at least 16,000 salvations on peacewithgod.net in partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Lightside reported.

A match-three game, Stained Glass allows players to unveil stories by winning pieces of colorful, broken glass that fit together to create Bible scenes on stained glass windows. Animated characters share narratives unveiled piecemeal through increasingly challenging levels. 

The March, 2015 game joins the family of Christian games by the company that debuted in 2010, offering in 2011 Journey of Moses, and in 2012 the popular Journey of Jesus: The Calling. More than 7 million people in 200 countries have played the games, according to Lightside.

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